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SPI 577: The Secret to a Wealthy & Simple Life with James Schramko

One of the most common questions I get is, “Pat, do you have a business coach? You coach a lot of people. You have a podcast. You help tens of thousands of people. Do you get help, too?”

And my answer is, of course: absolutely!

Today you get to hear from somebody I get weekly coaching from. His name is James Schramko, from SuperFastBusiness.

Today we talk about simplification, lifestyle design, and using your business as the mechanism to design the life you want.

We go through a lot of James’ history and how busy he was, how much he was grinding, how close he was getting to burnout, and what he’s done to reshape where he puts his time and energy.

We’ll also discuss a lot of really interesting, brand new business models that you might be able to use. They are actually quite simple once you zoom out and see how it all works.

James also has an amazing free gift to go along with one of the strategies we talk about, so make sure you listen for it. All of this, and a lot more on today’s show!

Today’s Guest

James Schramko

James is a formerly overworked, stressed out entrepreneur who used to spend every minute working (or thinking about work). Although he was successful at what he did, he was always too busy working to enjoy it. After uncovering the 4 key “Profit Levers” every business has, James built a $100,000+/month business while working just 25 hours a week.

Now, James surfs every day, and has his nights, weekends, Mondays and Fridays free. He privately coaches top entrepreneurs on how to earn more while working far less. He also coaches over 500 up-and-coming entrepreneurs inside his community. These members are in every market and use every business model you can think of, including e-commerce, affiliate marketing, consulting, information products, SAAS and more, earning anywhere from $10,000-$2,000,000/year.

You’ll Learn

Resources

SPI 577: The Secret to a Wealthy & Simple Life with James Schramko

[00:00:00] James:
Most people think of jobs as being safe and secure, but if you get paid by one person and that one person ends for whatever reason—it could be because of you, it could be because of world events or whatever—you don’t have much of a fallback position.

I like to get paid by lots and lots of people. That’s a really good risk mitigation strategy. In our case, with an online business, you can get paid by different people in different parts of the world. That gives you some geographic protection.

[00:00:48] Pat:
One of the most common questions I get is, “Pat, do you have a coach yourself? You coach a lot of people. You have a podcast. You help thousands, tens of thousands of people. Do you yourself get help, too?”

Absolutely. I think it’s massively important, and today you actually get to hear from somebody I speak weekly with. His name is James Schramko, from SuperFastBusiness.

Today we talk about simplification. We talk about lifestyle design and using the business as the mechanism to design the life the way that you want. We go through a lot of James’ history and how busy he was, how much he was grinding, how much he was getting close to burnout, and what he’s done recently to reshape where he puts his time and where he puts his energy.

We also discuss a lot of really interesting and brand new business models that you might be able to use that are actually quite simple once you zoom out and see how it all works. So, we talk about that and a lot more today.

James also has a very amazing free gift to go along with one of those strategies at the end that you’ll have to listen to, but this is James Schramko, my coach. You can find him again at SuperFastBusiness. He has a podcast and a website. Here he is, James Schramko.

James, welcome back to the Smart Passive Income Podcast. Thanks for joining me today.

[00:01:58] James:
Hey, I’m good. This is a fantastic event. Thank you for having me.

[00:02:02] Pat:
Of course. And you and I chat almost every single week. many people may not know this, but I hired you as a coach and a mentor for me. And one of the reasons why I love to chat with you is because the way that you’ve been able to design your life in a way. Simplifies just everything that’s going on, even though you’re running businesses, even though you’re a podcast or like me, even though you are, are, are a father and a husband, you’ve somehow been able to manage not just time, but your energy very, very well.

And that’s why I highly respect you. And I wanted to bring you on to talk about that, but I know it wasn’t always like that. Like, can you go back into time and talk about when you became an entrepreneur, what life was like, and then we can go into how it’s very different than.

[00:02:45] James:
Yeah, essentially, because I had kids fairly young, I was just looking to get money. I just needed to earn money. And so I found myself in getting into sales roles and working my way through the corporate career with, first BMW. And then Mercedes-Benz and.

I never really had that much time for myself. It was in the car industry in Australia and probably in many other places they’re kind of a seven day a week business. So it was, it was a good, actual, good precursor training for having online business because it was effectively always open, every day. And so you could, you could they even do a 11 day.

Fortnights, which is working at 11 out of 14 days. So you, you sort of adding in these sort of extra weeks of work year.

So there’s a lot of working in my early career and it was just to get, to get the money. Cause I was young. I had this family to feed live in, one of the more expensive cities at the time, Sydney and.

Yeah, it was just, it was what you’d classify as a grind or, bordering on, on, you know, lucky I was young because I think my, my health would have suffered a lot.

The older you get, the more your body just can’t handle that sort of stuff. So it was tough. And then. I had, I started to get this sense of impending doom, over the fact that I was employed by one person. And I know this happened to you, but my biggest concern, especially towards the last few years was that I would go into work one day.

Not have a job. And then that would be catastrophic, because I did what everyone else does as well. I had a mortgage, I was paying off my house. We’re just covering costs with my, I had a fantastic wage, but it, it also, it went out as quickly as it came in, like almost every employee and I was concerned that it could stop in and I was very stressed by that and sort of compounding this was the family history of. being an event in my life when I was younger, because my parents went through a similar situation to what my worst nightmare was. And so I was really driven to build my business on the side. What they, what they would call now, I suppose, a side hustle and to learn about online marketing and to, to, figure out how to build websites.

And I wasn’t sure exactly what I would sell or how it’s going to go about it, but I just started that process. And so there was this little crossover period where I was doing my day job, as a general manager, leading a team of 70 plus people in a $50 million revenue business. And that night I was a solo preneur.

The classic solopreneur with the much louder and held up high, but really not as good as it sounds solopreneur role. So as I wasn’t getting much sleep for that period, and it was super tough, it was like crawling over broken glass. it was very new.

[00:05:48] Pat:
And then based on your history of your work with BMW and the car dealership, I’m sure that you brought a lot of that hustle into the web design space and what you were doing there. at what point did you, if you did start to feel like you couldn’t sustain that anymore or or, or even burning.

[00:06:05] James:
I had family members. Well-meaning family members saying, listen, you’re going to die. You’re going to kill yourself. ‘cause you know, looking back on it, I would work a full day of work. tuck the kids into bed eight might call dinner and then, have a shower and then I’d put on a hoodie and I’d sit at my computer and I’d work through till about three in the morning.

And then I’d wake up again at six 30 or seven in the morning and, and do it all over again. So there was. Several months there where I was, I was starting to not feel great. Luckily I was younger, but still it was taking a toll. It definitely as hard on relationships. I mean, it’s hard having lots of kids and not seeing them.

And it’s also hard not knowing. How are you going to get past where you’re at? And, and then there was a back then there was a, the, the financial crisis happening in the United States lending market, subprime lending market. And I happened to be in the luxury segment. I mean, I mean, I was the highest paid person in my type of role in the Mercedes-Benz network.

And I definitely felt fragile.

[00:07:17] Pat:
Hmm. and then ultimately, What made you decide to go full-time online? Did you end up quitting or did you end up getting fired? like, you like, was your nightmare.

[00:07:28] James:
I didn’t get fired. even though I had. Virtually made my role redundant. I’d done a very good job of systemizing things and getting people in the team, doing what they were supposed to be doing. Plus that was my super strength. I was particularly good at systems and people. And, there’s, I don’t know if you follow Gino Wickman.

We’ve probably even had him on his shirt at some point, but, he, he talks about how only 10%. well, what is it? 4% of people should be entrepreneurs and only 10% of them can actually be integrators and visionaries. So I had this rare skill set of being able to sell, and having creative ideas, but also being good at organization. So I immediately recognized when I went online, there was a lot of people who, who are extremely weak in the, especially the team building and leadership stuff and strategy and, and handling big responsibilities. I mean, I was young and handling huge responsibilities. I think when I was 30, I was in charge of a hundred million dollar per year business.

So I had. Really good experience with this responsibility. And so I found all these people who are particularly good at this stuff online, like super creative or really good at selling stuff, but had absolutely no idea about building team or organizing systems or protecting themselves from perilous doom.

It was like they were literally about to be torpedoed and they didn’t realize that they do all sorts of crazy stuff like building on trademark brands. getting into disputes with the people taking on business models that are fads, that, that are going to sort of stop in 10 minutes from now. And so I found that, As I was helping my clients with their website stuff, which was my first sort of avenue of income affiliate marketing, that, that, there was a need for this.

And so I was pretty early to create a community. I think my, my first year out of quitting. I was able to build community, but the way I got out of my job to answer your question was I set a trigger. My goal was to match my income. As soon as I could match my income from my salary, with my online business, then I would leave the job.

So I actually ended up handing the keys to my. Two cars and, and saying, thanks very much, but I’m on my own now. And looking back on for sexually frightening to think that, that, that ad-libs one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my life. I was grateful that I didn’t get fired, but it was definitely a huge risk because I knew the owner was half out The door.

And a few years later from when I left, they sold the business. So, I’m not sure if I would’ve survived an ownership change anyway, but in hindsight, it’s a really, really important thing to understand this. Most people think of jobs as being safe and secure, but if you get paid by one person and that one person ends for whatever reason and it could be, it could be because of you, it could be because of.

The world events or whatever. you don’t have much fallback positions. So I like to get paid by lots and lots of people. That’s, that’s a really good risk mitigation strategy get paid by plenty of different people, in our case with an online business. So you can get paid by different people. In different parts of the world and that’s giving you some geographic protection.

And then of course, from a business model perspective, I like to get paid for different product lines. So I’ve got a few different ways that I get paid. of course you and I speak, that’s one of, one of the sort of product lines of mine. And then I do revenue share deals, which is my new most favorite thing.

And we should definitely talk about at some point. And, and then I’ve got my sort of core membership program. I remember when we spoke, I think it was back in 2013. I was very enthusiastic for you to get a membership pap. I thought that you would be basically the most perfect person on the planet to start a membership.

And I’m glad you did.

[00:11:26] Pat:
It took a seven or eight years to finally get around to doing it. But I remember that conversation because you have a business model that is primarily also a membership with SuperFastBusiness. And we talked about that. the last time you were on the show, four or five years ago. And of course, since then a lot has changed, the world has changed.

The way business has done has changed.

But what hasn’t changed is the fact that I know that you’ve been very purposeful with what you allow to kind of come into your life and what you say no to. What do you use now is like a barometer for where you spend your time and how you’ve been able to design your life the way that.

[00:12:03] James:
So it’s about, shifting priorities. So like partly it’s because of aging. I mean, like I say, just as a man, when you’re young, you want to prove to the world that you’re the king and that you need to find a good mate and be attractive to the opposite sex. And I think you, you know, you need to.

Show other people that you’re impressive, with fancy things and stuff.

And I do see a lot of this culture online. but for me, I kind of grew out of that. I know once I, once I achieved, competitive notches on my belt, so to speak, I got the top sales person award and the top sales manager award. And, I’ve got my own business and then I don’t know, other things took priority.

So for me, things like relationships. I wanted to have time with my children. I want to have, I want to surf every day. I didn’t use to surf until about eight years ago. So this is a more recent thing. and that’s been probably one of the greatest teachers in my life because you have to carve out time to do that It’s, it’s going to take you an hour a day and sometimes more My favorite place to surf these days. It’s a three hour round trip from when I leave to when I get back and. It’s such a metaphor for resilience and gross. It’s probably the single biggest thing that’s changed my life. It’s like that point break movie.

There’s a line in there and a piano Reeves is trying to buy a surfboard in the, the little kid at the shop. He says, you know, surfing’s the source. It’ll change your life. And. That’s my priority. My priority now is I want to surf every day. And that’s the guiding star. It probably a lot like your Pokemon endeavors that’s become important to you even though in old Pat 10 years ago.

I might’ve thought that was, a silly notion, but now you can, you can basically, my message is that you can build your life around something other than. what other people’s goals would tell you would be success? So success might mean something different to different people, but if I can have a great relationship with the people around me, if I can keep my body physically healthy, if I can build wealth with.

Doing cutting any corners or wronging any people, if I can surf every day and have, you know, that kid likes smile and enjoyment and the personal challenge of trying to improve, then I’m happy and the business is really a vehicle that helps. Pay for that lifestyle. And if you set your business up well, and there’s really just a couple of things that make all the difference, then you can actually fund your perfect lifestyle.

Once I caught coined this sort of expression of wealth suffocation, but it’s this kind of process of having a wealthy life where your business is working, to your commands rather than you being commanded within someone else’s business, which is the traditional way. Most of us.

[00:15:11] Pat:
I mean, it’s very simple for you and I to say that on this side, after, you know, a decade plus of, of business and being able to now. Have the opportunities, the time and also the resources to shape the life that we want. And me going into Pokemon, you surfing every day. And I love that metaphor, but I also can emPathize with those who are listening right now, who are like, okay, that all sounds great, but I got to build the business and it feels like I have to grind and I cannot do these things that I can surf every day.

Or even, I, I can’t get any time to surf. Like I want to get there, but I can’t right now. So what is the. Roadmap for a person who’s sitting there who was us, you know, when we first started out.

[00:15:54] James:
I hear you I know there’s people screaming at it and can’t relate because we always, we always, refer to everything in our own sphere. Like we take what we listened to and then we relate it to ourselves. and then we say, well, these guys, you know, they’re already accomplished. They’ve already got runs on the board.

They’ve got money in the bank, et cetera. And so they’ll dismiss it. but I’ll, I’ll say one thing, one massive thing is firstly, just take huge responsibility for your outcomes. the second that you say, right, I’m going to stop buying lottery tickets, and I’m not going to rely on a government handout.

That’s like, step one, when you don’t hope that someone’s going to swoop in and save the day, they’re going to ride it on their white horse and just hand out dollar bills not going to happen. both you and I have experienced that. We’ve, we’ve had to do it ourselves. Had to step into the driver’s seat of our own life, so to speak.

The second thing is you can shortcut the process. I don’t think you have to go through what you went through and what I went through. I mean, I think your job got ended on you from memory. and in my case, I didn’t have a me in my life to, to help me. I had to figure it out. I was probably in the wrong country to try And learn this stuff quickly because.

Well, the American market was way ahead of us for the online space And there was just no one to talk to. So to answer your question with a N a true story, surfing with this guy that I’d bumped into in the surf every now and then. And he was telling me about how much he doesn’t like his job and didn’t want to go in on the Mondays.

And he couldn’t serve for me the next day. Cause he’s got to go into the city. And I just said, why do you do that? And he said, what else would I do? And I said, wow, well, let me tell you about this. So, I actually found out what he’s good at. And then I saw where he might plug into, my network of, of people who have problems that he could solve.

And then we just pulled up. I just pulled up. Seeing on my computer screen. And I just wrote down the steps that he would have to take, and it wasn’t too many steps, but the first step was for him to read a resource that would give him a codec for being able to, offer a service. So to, to understand how, you know, what sort of service he would offer and how he might communicate it.

The next thing was to, to work on. being able to, join up with people who have the problem that he solves. So I was able to make introductions in this case, because I had lots of people with the problems that he solves in my network. And so he sort of skipped the whole need for web. Or any of that stuff, PayPal cart, the whole bit, all you need is the ability to solve a problem.

And then to be able to go on connect with the people that have that problem from there, he was able to get a client. And from then we did other stuff, like register a business and set up a bank account and put up a two page website. And now, less than a year later, he’s got eight clients and. They pay an average of five or $6,000 a month. And he’s got a team of five or six people. So the first thing I did is said, you need to, we need to build team. It can’t be you. We need to build this model around it, not being you all the time. And he just followed all the instructions. So. We’re talking about within a year to have a very substantial business.

This guy is still surfs twice a day. He can travel anywhere he wants. He loves the work he does. He works less than he did in the job. He has got a fantastic reputation and that’s, that’s the fast track. So the secret ingredient there is having someone like me, or you. To show you what to do instead of having to try and figure it all out, the slow and difficult.

And in the end expensive way, I’d say my biggest failure in the beginning was not investing enough on courses and training. For some reason, I was trying to just navigate it all by myself and I was a little bit slow to get team, but I eventually got there. The two things you really need to have, if you want to.

Build that space into your life. I call this white space, but that’s really been the thing that makes my life the best it is now is creating that white space is to have team so that you’re not in a job like business. Like that solopreneur really is a very difficult business. And the second thing is to have the right business model, looking for the leverage.

I had a big transition in my own affiliate promotions when I started promoting things that paid recurring. And then when I set up my own products, like just about everything that I do is recurring. My partnerships are occurring. My coaching is recurring. and my, membership, which I set up in early 2009, that has been the most incredible.

Machine, it just is a machine. it’s it’s been such a good business model and it was a great platform for me to be able to help people and to create wins for them, but also to work well for me. And the best thing about communities is that, you can attend it when you, when you want. But it took a huge amount of discipline pet to just stop working seven days a week.

I would have been classified as a workaholic at some point early on in the online thing, because you know, the first thing I did when I quit my job was just pedal as hard as I could to make sure I had a lot of buffer and I didn’t feel safe and secure until a few years later because I needed to build a bank.

I wanted to catch. Bank of confidence that I could have runway, you know, we need to have years worth of expenses, really to feel super safe. These days into evolution is, Start early and take full responsibility and then put, use your business as a vehicle to bring cash out of it at some point to put into things outside of the business.

And that’s where you have to deviate from the traditional plan. And that’s why it can be misleading to benchmark off billionaires. A lot of those guys are. Re-investing and reinvesting back into their own businesses or they’re actually reinvesting other people’s money. And in many cases they have investors.

So for the average person listening to this, they’re probably not going to have investors. They’re probably not going to float on the stock exchange. they probably don’t need to reinvest every nickel and dime back into their business to make it bigger, to grow, to have big revenue, because that’s impressive.

What they might want is a lifestyle business that. Covers their costs gives them a little surplus to put into some outside the business investments and to, and to pick the right people, to bring into your business, to help you in a, in a team sense. And then, in that time that you’re not grinding and hustling, you can actually think about what you actually want to do and, gravitate towards the projects that excite you the most, which is why, you know, what you’re doing with Pokemon and what you did with.

And how you’ve, matured your business has been like pretty much top of class. That’s the benchmark for anyone who’s coming down that Path because you started as just you and now you’ve got a proper business.

[00:23:19] Pat:
It was definitely just me in it. I only wanted it to be me, but I was either going to burn out. Or the business was not going to move as fast as it needed to, or I was going to go back to my job and I didn’t want to do that. big credit to Matt, our CEO obviously, cause he stepped in and he really helped to turn the business into what it is.

And I knew to hire Matt because I don’t have that knowledge. I don’t have that skill. And like you said, you got to find the people who have those skills to be able to fill in those gaps and me being more of a visionary. I didn’t have the implementation skills to go to where I know I wanted it to go, but I just didn’t know.

You had mentioned getting sort of a bank roll to feel a little confident and whatnot, especially when you’re just starting out. Now I know for people who have jobs, who maybe aren’t getting pushed out, you know, that is a good opportunity to save and put into an account so that by the time it gets to a certain level, then you can feel a little bit more comfortable working on your own.

But what about those people who do get pushed out or they are on their own already? are you saying.

It is going to be kind of a grind at first to get to that point where then, you know, there’s a little bit of a bankroll to then use to then invest or, or start designing with. Cause it’s hard to design the lifestyle you want when you’re just starting out and you don’t have any money coming in.

[00:24:33] James:
Yeah, I get that. Not having money is difficult, but, a lot of them best things are actually free. like

For example, if you are lucky enough to live near the ocean, which I am, and, and I certainly am by choice, just, just. Going to the beach, sitting at the beach quietly, having that salt air or swimming in the water that can be a massive reset and recharge.

It can, it can keep you strong and grounded. I’m going to say that, I think in the future, that sort of thing will be in a super privileged experience because we are moving into this sort of discussion of Metta versus. There’s web series in NFTs and you know, some of it’s great, but a lot of it, I think is just getting people completely distracted and, this, you know, trading cryptos and things and, and, setting up screens and getting alerts.

And I, I feel like they’re sort of getting sucked into. An unreal world. And I think in the future analog experiences will be a positive. So for me, the thing that grounds me in, because I coach a lot of people who are very busy and super creative and much smarter than I am actually, in almost every case.

But they’re so good at what they do. The way that I ground is to, to switch it off. I only work 15 hours a week now, and I do the bulk of that. In three days. And so that I can have most of the week to just, osmose or relax or gravitate to things That are really interesting to me. And, and so I would say even if you’re just starting out and you have no money, I would try and build in some personal time every day.

So that you’re not just, like that, would chop over the blunt ax. You know, I would say that. I can absolutely do more stuff in less time now because I’m sharp and because I’m interested in the work. So I do think there’s an inevitable, difficult learning curve for anything new, whether that’s speaking a language, learning guitar surfing.

Oh my God. That is, it’s very difficult to start. However, if you commit to that, and that’s been the best thing for me to reconnect with my own audience, going through something from scratch. And I’m learning that from the start has been super humbling and also, informing it’s it’s helped me understand where people are at.

You know, I could look at Kelly Slater and think I’ll never be as good as him or whatever, but. My goal really shouldn’t be to Pierce, could as him, my goal should be to have, have been as good as I want to be in how responsible I want to be for that, for that level. And so I would say. Don’t worry about other people’s skulls.

Just put one foot in front of The other and build some space around your life. If you don’t have a lot of money, then find people with money, you can do things like, triangulation deals. I’ll tell you about this situation I had once I used to speak from stage occasionally. And like about 10 years ago, I think I had, I was, offering people to come to my workshop and it was a few thousand dollars. And. The lady put up her hand and she said, what if I want to come to the workshop, but I don’t have any money. And I said, well, like, do you have time to come to the workshop? She said, yes. And I said, well, your golden would be to look around the room here and find someone who has the money to come to the workshop and would like to learn the things that I’m teaching, but doesn’t have the time to come to it.

And maybe they can sponsor you to come to the work. And she said, okay. And in the break she went and found someone and this person sponsored her to come to the workshop. He paid for her to come to the workshop. And I suggested that she comes to the workshop and applies what she learns on his business that exceeds the value of what he puts towards a workshop.

And she turned out to be a lifelong customer, which was great, and she didn’t have the money. And that’s exactly how I learned marketing in the first place. I went to, when I was working in the dealership, I went to a, a smash repairer or panel shop a car repairer, and I said, listen, I’m, I can help you grow your business and I’m going to need some materials for it.

So if you could buy me these resources, I will go through them and then I’ll apply them to your business. And I bought, several hundred dollars worth of Dan Kennedy books at the time. And then I wrote up a plan and I did the marketing ideas and the strategy stuff and rewrote copy and stuff for this smash repairer.

And in the end, I ended up helping them get a Mercedes Benz repair license, which was really worth millions of dollars per year, through my connections with the network. So it turned into. But these are creative ways. And this is taught by Jay Abraham, by the way, just to credit the original source for our learned about these sort of barter deals, you don’t need money.

And a lot of entrepreneurs don’t use their own money in business investments. You just need people who have money, or you need to have an offer. That’s interesting. You have to be trustworthy. And somebody who, who someone feel comfortable is actually able to help them solve their problem or, or bring value to them.

[00:30:03] Pat:
And that’s, I always talk about how important relationships are. It’s the people who I’ve surrounded myself with that have gotten me to where I am today. and without those people, I definitely wouldn’t be here. So definitely, and there are ways to provide value and add value to other people’s lives.

Even if you are quote unquote, just starting out or somebody, they don’t know, you just have to know what is a value to them, and you can support them in that way. You had mentioned memberships. I know that you’ve had a membership since oh eight or oh nine. And when you got into that, You know, memberships are kind of the holy grail of passive income, right.

With a recurring income that could come in from that and having a community and predictability and whatnot. But it became very apparent, on my team and for myself, when we built SPI pro that this was definitely like the least passive thing ever. so I’m curious, cause you had mentioned a little bit about doing it when you want to do it, but how do you ensure that you are still providing value in your membership or.

While still staying sane and not, you know, staying up late just to answer comments and questions. And how do you protect your time and how do you continue to, lifestyle design with something like a membership site?

[00:31:10] James:
Yeah, it’s an interesting one because obviously it’s changed a lot since 2009. I think I was doing memberships before Facebook groups and then Facebook groups became big and then. Facebook groups are starting to fade again. finally, so, you know, I’ve, I don’t have any community managers in my membership and I don’t have Brazilian customers. So I think a lot, has a lot to do with what does value actually mean for a customer? So it might depend on your promise. See if you’re more social than I am, or you’re very interested in creating. Activity then you could probably create a lot of work for yourself. I learnt this lesson once.

When, if you do this exercise, you go through your inbox and your reply to everyone in there. Then the next day you’re going to have like another, a hundred messages back. So you can create your own momentum. the way that people get value from my community might be different for different people, but it might also be different than what other people offer in their community.

Ultimately I want. I’m, I’m kind of like an insurance policy people can go to and tell me what’s broken and I fix it. And that might not be something they need every day. for some it is. And I say to those people that if you’re always putting out fires, then you are the arsonist, right? So I’m helping people learn how to think differently about the way they do business.

And sometimes that can come in different formats. So I do run the monthly training and I do run a monthly, ask me anything. And so I do have to turn up for that. I answer every post every day. That sounds crazy. But that really is my only job. Cause I don’t, it’s all the things I don’t do. Right. If you list the things I don’t do, there’s a lot.

Cause I don’t do, I don’t have affiliates. I don’t do launches. I run very few live events. Don’t do bootcamps. I don’t do summits. What I do is I just do two podcasts a week and I answer questions in my community. That’s my job. And it pays well and people have just gotten used to that cadence. Most people aren’t going to post more than a question per day.

So that works out pretty well. And by limiting the number of people we have in the membership, just from a, you can dial that mix from the marketing. See, I don’t do paid traffic either really, and I’m not doing big promotions, so I’m not flooding my community with thousands and thousands of members. I’ve only got hundreds of members and I can manage that. Because of the job I used to have with 70 staff and the fact that I’ve been coaching people, I mean, I’ve been running a weekly coaching call since 2010 and I’ve been answering forum questions since I got online, actually I used to work other people’s forums.

I was actually answering question other paid memberships that I was paying to be in. Since probably 2006. And so that’s my skill I can partition. I can remember, I can pick up a conversation that I’m having with someone from the last time I spoke with them and remember everything about it. So I’m just.

Probably partially lucky and it’s also learnt, but also over time you create a body of work and you, you can leverage it. So let’s say three people asked me the same question. Then I’ll create a training on it and put that in the community. And then from the next time someone asks, we can say, Answers your question exactly.

And our link to it. So you can create little shortcuts, like building neuron links in a brain. so I’d say my membership, you know, with all the content I have and, and the, the members also serve each other, they do help each other. And I love that peer to peer contact and by not having a big promise of.

You know, massive engagement or not making engagement in my prime metric. then that’s probably served me. Well, the main metric I have is I want to make sure that the member has the return on investment and the way they get that might be just not being lonely. It might be that they can bring a problem to the table and get it solved.

It might be that they. When it come to an event once a year, and they just love chatting with the people in between us. There’s lots of different ways people get that.

[00:35:30] Pat:
Hmm. How are you gaining members into your membership? If you’re not doing any big launches, if you are not doing paid ads, what’s the cycle or the customer journey for.

[00:35:45] James:
Some people will get my book. I’ve got a book on Amazon and I do run some Amazon ads on Amazon to the book. That’s a good starting point. So that’s a little sort of self-contained ecosystem. I give away my book from my website. So some people find it through me, either mentioning it or, they somehow find it through SEO. We do, we do well with SEO.

They’ll get the free book. And from the free book, they will get an email sequence which offers them membership. I do have a couple of little, I’ve taken some of my best trainings that people like, some of them have been viewed a couple of thousand times within the membership.

So they clearly have all the content. They’re the best ones. I’ve put them as little individual products on my website. I give them firstly, given why a super cheap, like $9 or whatever, and they buy the product. They’ll also get offered a coupon into the membership. So lots of front doors. And of course I have a podcast, and every, every week we publish two podcasts and every podcast we’ll email and we’ll share on social.

And by we, I mean, my team, my team will send the email. My team will write the blog posts. my team will post to the socials. I’ll share it on my personal social. And every episode is going to have a call to action. And most people that’s in the podcasts would be aware that I haven’t met. And then of course, it’s just referrals.

I do get a lot of people come in because they know someone who’s been in the membership and they rave about it, which is what I, that was my intention. When I didn’t have an affiliate program was I want people to refer people to me because they really liked the product rather than because they’re going to be.

[00:37:28] Pat:
Yeah, that makes sense. Now, before we finish up here and again, thank you, James, for this, you had mentioned something called the rev share deals earlier on in the episode. I wanted to circle back to that because I know because we’ve chatted is a huge opportunity. It’s an amazing way. Diversify and add more income into your bottom line, but also it’s very, very protective of your time as well.

Can you share what this rev share deal situation is like and how one might get started?

[00:37:59] James:
Yeah. So the two parts to this, part one is I asked Jay Abraham, if he went back in time, what would he. What would he change? And he said he would have done more revenue share deals. And I said, tell me more about that. And, he shared with me lots of notes from his workshops and stuff, but essentially he said, look, these clients who were paying him $25,000 for workshops, they would have been happy to give him a few cents in the dollar to help them grow the business forever.

And. They would have added up to millions of dollars. And I thought this is essentially, it’s just like being an affiliate for a whole business instead of just the stuff you send them. So If you have skills that, are handy for a business, and in my case, I’m sort of a business growth person. So it’s pretty easy for me to, to say to the right business. Listen, you’ve gotten here all by yourself. If I can take you past here, would you share some of the. Excess with me. Let’s say they make, for every dollar they make, if they keep 90 cents and just give me 10 cents and they might say, well, that’s, that sounds pretty good. We’ll, we’ll, we’ll pay you 10 cents in every dollar that we don’t currently make.

If you can get it for us. And that’s basically how they work now, sometimes I’ll do it from. Like my friend in the surf, I might say, listen, I can help you grow this business from absolutely zero. And I’d like a small percentage of it. And for that in his case, I’ve done, I’ve basically just completely removed the nature for him to do any marketing whatsoever.

Just joined him straight up to the end user. And I’ve given him all the guidance and knowledge of the market and I help him grow his team. And yeah. Just loving it. So it’s been a fantastic partnership. So it’s basically, you know, who can you do a yin yang relationship with it’s like your mat, right?

He’s he’s a good example where he brings something to the table that, that you are not necessarily that keen on doing or, or in some cases it’s not your super strength. and then you work together. So there are, there are lots of ways that you can do this, but if you, if you were to think about, the fact that these deals can often be sort of lifetime deals, they go for a long time.

The way that they end usually is if you don’t like it, you can end it. just, just give notice, but if they don’t want to continue, they can usually just buy it out. So you just put a buyout clause.

And I think this is one of the easiest ways for someone to get started. If they have a strong skill. And especially if they’re an agency or service provider, you might opt to get paid on performance versus a retainer.

And that’s really the big shift in thinking. And the benefit that I’ve found is that versus just a straight coaching for. if I’m getting paid on the upside performance, it means I can do more things with that client. I can email for them. I can distribute them through my social channels. I can put them on the podcast more often with their own series.

I can connect them with affiliates. So that’s one difference between being an affiliate versus a revenue share partner. if you’re a revenue share partner with a company, even on, a smaller percentage, but you bring them 50 affiliates, then they’re going to grow much faster than if you are competing with the affiliates as an affiliate.

[00:41:28] Pat:
Right. It’s not just promoting a particular product. Promoting the whole company in any sales that are made, not just that, that product that you promote as an affiliate,

[00:41:37] James:
Any sales from any source. Yep. And now you can partition them off. Like there’s some nuances you might say, listen, you’ve. You’ve got this product and that product, let’s just do a revenue share on that product. Or you could do it on, you know, inevitably entrepreneurs seem to have more than one business, often, you know, like different divisions altogether to do completely different things.

So you might silo them off and say, well, this is in the deal. This is not in the deal. And it’s all spelled out on a on a simple agreement and. I found that it’s rapidly become, it’s sort of eating up more of my income pie. Now. I’d say it’s, getting closer to half. My income is through these revenue share partner deals. and what it’s meant for me is a massive change for like, for example, If one partner pays me the same as what I might’ve got from

Three or five coaching clients, then, you know, the energy released from that is incredible. I get to just have a nice deep relationship with one person instead of having to set up four calendars sort of appointments and spread myself over.

And, you know, it just means more surfing time for me, more relationships and, better partnerships. And I liked that kind of business.

[00:42:54] Pat:
Have you ever had any buddy who partners with you in that sort of way? And then they’re making a lot of money and they go, James, like, I’m paying you way more than if I had just paid you like as just like a coaching person or, or, or an agency, like I’m not comfortable with this year.

I can imagine that, especially if you help them out so much, how do you combat that? How do you position yourself? Because I can imagine that, happening.

[00:43:19] James:
Hasn’t happened to me, but it does happen to others. And it’s one of the things that I pre prepared for when I decided to try this model again, because I actually started this model in the beginning. I did the classic rookie mistake of trying to do 50 50 deals with people. But. Usually suck. you’ve got to be very lucky to pull off a 50 50 deal and the reason they fail I could get into in a different environment, but.

I researched people who do royalty deals and licensing deals. There are lots of examples because the music industry does it copywriters do it. and I found one guy who did retain a plus, percentage, his clients always act up about having to pay it. And so he put in a payout fee and that was very clever.

And so that’s really the, the secret to making it work. Yeah. If you give the client an out, when they, when, you know, if the kitchen is getting too hot and they feel like they’re overpaying, then they can just buy it out and end it. And then they’re betting on themselves being able to do better without you.

And that’s totally fine because your building their business in a kind of quasi partnership way, and then you get paid out like a partner who would get paid if the business was sold. So selling the businesses, another event that is covered by that.

[00:44:36] Pat:
Hmm, you’re saying, do you have podcast episodes about this and talk more?

[00:44:42] James:
I think I do have a podcast episode about it on SuperFastBusiness. And I’ve got a, a really simple little training on it. like, actually I’d be happy to give it to your listeners if you want. I sell it but I’d be happy to give it. It’s just a good.

[00:44:57] Pat:
Oh, that’d be great. Where, where should they go to, to grab that?

[00:45:01] James:
It’s on Superfastresults.com and I’ll send you a coupon that you can put on your SPI podcasts. We’ll use the coupon, Pat. We’ll make it simple.

[00:45:12] Pat:
Okay. There we go. And then what was the URL? One more time.

[00:45:15] James:
Superfastresults.com in, all get you a coupon for Pat. So you can use Pat for that revenue share training and it will be.

[00:45:24] Pat:
Thanks, James, really amazing stuff. I’m sure stuff that people have never thought about before could open up avenues of income for a lot of people. So I appreciate you coming on. And I think the biggest thing to take away is the, the idea of, you know, owning your outcome. some people have seen me wear a shirt that says that because we believe that in SPI as well, you know, take responsibility for whatever happens and wherever you are, you always have the choice of doing one thing or another.

To always not have to wait around for somebody else to help you, but you know, you take that action or you ask the questions that you need help on and you go and get it. that’s where that responsibility happens and that’s where a lot of success can, can come from. So, I appreciate you, James. Thank you so much.

Besides that URL, a Superfastresults.com coupon code Pat, where else should people go to intake more of your words?

[00:46:16] James:
Look, I, I would start at SuperFastBusiness. That’s I’m gone listen to the Pat podcast. We’ll have to get you back to, for an update with your Pokemons

[00:46:25] Pat:
It’s been awhile.

[00:46:26] James:
Because that’s fascinating.

[00:46:28] Pat:
It’s it’s going wild and I’m having a ton of fun doing it. So, anyway, thank you, James. Appreciate you. And I look forward to, our next coaching chat. You and I.

[00:46:38] James:
Thanks Pat.

[00:46:39] Pat:
Alright. I hope you enjoyed this interview with my coach, James Schramko. James has just been life-changing for me. He might be for you, too. If you want to check him out, SuperFastBusiness.com, or you can go to SuperFastResults.com, and use the coupon code, “Pat,” if you want to learn more about that rev share deal and hear some special training around that, which is really, really interesting.

I advise a lot of companies, but I always wonder what if I had a rev share deal with them instead. I could potentially make that much more money. With companies that you support, or certain people who might need the skills that you have to offer, a rev share deal might be exactly what you might need to start some diversification inside of your bottom line.

Thank you again for watching all the way through. I appreciate you. If you want to get all the links and resources mentioned in this episode, head on over to SmartPassiveIncome.com/session577. Again, that’s SmartPassiveIncome.com/session577.

We also talked a lot about community, and James has one. Of course you’ve heard of the one that is on our end, as well, SPIPro. If you want to apply to that go to SPIPro.com, that way you can connect with other people just like you, get some support from myself and other team members that we have on SPI Media, and just join an amazing group of people.

Again, you can find that and apply at SPIPro.com.

Thank you so much. I appreciate you, and I look forward to serving you, very, very soon.

If you haven’t yet hit that subscribe button, make sure to do that so you don’t miss out, and I’ll see you the next one.

Cheers, peace out, and as always, Team Flynn for the win.


Smart Passive Income Podcast

with Pat Flynn

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